U.S. citizen with immigrant spouse sues federal government over denial of coronavirus relief payment

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Anastasia Campos is a part of a class action lawsuit filed in federal court Wednesday, over the government’s denial of coronavirus stimulus payments to U.S. citizens married to immigrants without social security numbers.

Neither Campos nor her husband of 11 years received a stimulus check through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act nor through the CARES Act, she said.

“My husband is good enough to pay taxes why isn’t he good enough for economic relief?” Campos said. “I felt very discriminated against.”

Campos and her children are American citizens. Her husband, who did not want to be identified, is originally from El Salvador and works in construction.

He is the family’s breadwinner and files taxes using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, Campos said. Since he pays taxes, they expected to receive a stimulus check to help their family through tough times, she added, but the money never came.

“How dare you tell me that me and my kids are not good enough? We are citizens,” she said in tears.

More than a million Americans who are married to non-resident aliens were blocked from receiving stimulus checks.

“We’re challenging the CARES Act because it was written in a way that discriminates against people who married a person without a social security number,” Attorney Matthew Matern with Matern Law Group said.

According to the IRS, more than four million people with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number paid taxes in 2015.

“It’s unfair. She’s a taxpayer. She should be treated the same as other U.S. citizens,” Matern said. “This particular law doesn’t treat them equally if they’ve married someone who doesn’t have a social security number.”

It’s estimated that 2 million U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents are married to people without social security numbers, although it’s unclear how many of them file jointly.

“If they’re going to penalize people for marrying who they want, don’t make it legal in the first place,” Campos said.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund also filed a lawsuit against the federal government in April for the same reason.

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